Selvarey Rum from Panama

Selvarey Rums

Hailing from Panama – Selvarey Rum comes in two different expressions – Selvarey White and Selvarey Cacao. It`s distilled in Panama by master blender Don “Pancho” Francisco Fernandez. The name Selvarey means “Jungle King”

Don Pancho was born in Cuba in 1938 and he first began working with cutting sugarcane in the fields with his father. He worked his way up and became the Cuban Minister of Rum. He spent 35 years running the famous Havana Club brand in Cuba before moving to Panama and opening his own distillery.

And he built his own distillery from scratch in a small town called Pesé in the Herrera Province– Panama’s premier sugarcane region and bought a warehouse on the outskirts of Panama City and began stocking it with barrels of rum and out of there i now have these two expressions here to try out and make a few cocktails with.

Selvarey rum is distilled in four copper column stills built in 1922 by American Copper & Brass Works. The rum is then aged in American white oak ex bourbon barrels imparting notes of vanilla and caramel. Water is added to bring Selvarey White down to 40% ABV and Selvarey Cacao to 35% ABV.

Selvarey rums are lush tropical rums, sweet and flavorful and you may sip on it´s own or mix with in various cocktails. The bottles are really beautiful, they look very exotic! they are also sturdy and quite heavy with a thick bottom.

Selvarey White

Selvarey Rum White

The white rum is a blend of three and five-year-old rums, distilled in 1922 copper column stills, aged in bourbon casks and carbon filtered to remove the color while keeping most of the flavors and it is made up of more than a single batch of rum adding to it`s complexity.

From his warehouse, Don Pancho chooses a 3 year-old for its youth and vibrancy of fresh-cut sugarcane, and then combines it with a rich, full bodied, more mature 5 year-old.

The nose is mild and sweet with hints of vanilla and fresh sugarcane plus a little bit of toffee and butterscotch.The mouth is quite viscous and the same notes comes through in the flavor along with creamy butterscotch. It`s designed to be a sipping rum enjoyed with some ice but it mixes well in cocktails like the daiquiri or mojito for example or any that contains citrus which it plays very well with plus the citrus cuts the sweetness a bit and adds that vibrant aromatic flavor.

Selvarey Cacao

Selvarey Rum Cacao

The cacao rum is made from five-year-old rum infused with locally sourced chocolate which doesn`t give the “chocolate bar” flavor but rather a fine flavor of the cocoa bean. Less sweet than the white rum and here you get vanilla notes plus some oak with a mild spice along with the flavor of  natural chocolate.

The color is dark amber/copper and when opening the bottle you immediately get the aroma of chocolate in the air. Selvarey Cacao won the gold medal at the 2014 Miami Rum Fest and was the first flavored rum ever to win the coveted Chairman’s Trophy at the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York City.

I decided to first make two cocktails found on the website for a change instead of making my usual tiki drinks and the Rey Cafè catched my attention, a cocktail made with the Cacao rum, coffee and unsweetened coconut milk but i switched the espresso coffee for what i have on hand (and prefer) which is New Orleans Community coffee dark roast – which is strong and flavorful in the same way as Hawaiian Kona and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffees.

Rey Cafè

Selvarey Rey Cafè

1.5oz Selvarey Cacao
1oz strong coffee (cold)
1oz unsweetened coconut milk
0.25 oz -0.5 oz simple syrup or sugar (taste your way)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice cubes and grate some cinnamon and nutmeg on top.

A very nice cocktail indeed! here you get cacao, sugarcane, coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg wrapped up in creamy unsweetened coconut milk…This cocktail can also be made warm for those stormy fall or cold winter nights.

The next cocktail is a daiquiri for which, the Selvarey white rum is perfect:

Selvarey Jungle Daiquiri

Selvarey Jungle Daiquiri

2 oz of  Selvarey White Rum
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz dark sugar syrup

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lime.

And here is another type of daiquiri, with grilled fruit, this is for the white rum:

Grilled Fruit Daiquiri

Selvarey rum Grilled-fruit-daiquiri

2-3 Pieces of Grilled Fruit (Mango, Pineapple, or Cantaloupe)

2 oz. Selvarey White Rum

1 oz. Simple Syrup (1 part superfine sugar to 1 part water, stir till dissolved)

3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Muddle the grilled fruit with the simple syrup and lime juice in a shaker. Add Selvarey White Rum and ice. Shake vigorously and fine strain into a cocktail coupe or other glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Grilled Fruit: De-core or de-seed fruit first and cut, so as to expose a large area of fruit flesh. Grill, flesh side down, until grill marks are present (about 2 minutes). Cut chunks of fruit from grilled flesh and use to muddle in cocktail.

You can check to see where to find Selvarey rums here.

See other Selvarey Cacao rum reviews on RumRatings

See other Selvarey White Rum reviews on RumRatings

Kōloa Kaua`i Spice Rum!

Koloa bottle

Up for review is the spiced rum from Kōloa Rum in Hawaii. I wrote about Kōloa rums before and their range of rums including the spiced, but now i got a chance to sit down with it all by itself.

This is to me a cocktail rum, great for mixing up delicious tropical cocktails and tiki drinks, it fits well with from where it comes but of course it can be used in other types of cocktails as well. But me i`m sticking to the tropics!

Interesting is that Kōloa Rum is not made from molasses but instead it´s made from crystallized sugar (but it contains molasses – it actually has a high level of molasses in it) but that sets it apart from both pure molasses based rums and rhum agricole which is made from sugar cane juice. All of the rums are distilled twice in a 1210 gallon copper pot still with a copper column and condenser. The still was built by Liberty Coppersmiths in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1947 and later refurbished for use in the distillery.

The Kōloa Rum company is very young! they have only made rum since 2009 and have already won no less than 17 awards – most of them at the Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami and then at the  San Francisco World Spirits Competition, well done!

Koloa awards

Kauai, also known as the Garden Island, is where Kōloa Rum is made and Kōloa rum is a handcrafted single batch rum containing pure mountain waters of  Mt. Wai`ale`ale, one of the wettest spots on Earth. The Kōloa plantation was established in 1835 in Kōloa Town and the first harvest which produced two tons of raw sugar was in 1837 and it was around that time that rum production began, so rum does have quite some history on the Hawaiian islands.

There is a Tasting Room & Company Store, located on the grounds of the Historic Kilohana Plantation where visitors can sample from the range of rums and purchase Kōloa rum items and also Hawaiian Fruit Specialties and its Kukui Brand which was founded in 1931 by the Tateishi Family as a means of preserving the wild guava, pineapple, lilikoi, and other abundant fruits of Kaua`i.

I was happily surprised when i heard that they were going to feature one of my cocktails that i made in my other post, the Spiced Coconaut on their new bag that soon will be in the shop! i used some of this spiced rum as a float in that drink. I hope i can one day go there and visit them! i have always been dreaming about going to Hawaii…and here is the bag, this is where your purchases from the store goes…

Koloa bag collage

Nose and Taste

The first thing that hits my nose from the spiced rum is vanilla and cinnamon with clear notes, followed by caramel and spice. In the mouth i taste cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, spice, sugarcane, some oak, quite well balanced and smooth. It would add some real nice spice notes to cocktails, especially if they contain pineapple juice since the strongest flavor is cinnamon.

It´s sweet but not too sweet,  it´s spicy but well balanced – and there´s some hints of roots and also something astringent, i guess that´s what brings me to roots.

Kōloa Kaua`i Spice is a rich and fragrant rum.

Kōloa Kaua`i Spice in Cocktails

As for cocktails with the Kōloa Spiced Rum, the Spiced Coconaut was as i mentioned earlier really appreciated by the folks at the Kōloa Rum and and they made it to be featured on their cocktail catalogue as well as on their Facebook page and it looked this nice:

The recipe doesn`t call for just the spiced rum, rather it´s used as a float together with Kōloa Kaua`i Dark rum and as such it did very well. Here`s the recipe again:

Koloa Rum Spiced Coconaut cocktail

Spiced Coconaut

2 oz Lopez or Coco Real Cream of Coconut

2 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz Kaua`i Dark rum

Float Kōloa Kaua`i Spice ( about 0.25 oz)

Shake it hard to get the Cream of Coconut well mixed in and strain into a coconut mug with ice cubes and float Kōloa spiced rum on top.

Garnish with tropical flower and pineapple leaves.

Next tropical cocktail is strong and tall…and deceptive:

Hawaiian Scratch…  instead of Tropical Itch…

Koloa Hawaiian Itch

Tiki drinks often have some funny names, the Tropical Itch which is the inspiration for this drink was created by Harry Yee, “The Dean of Hawaiian Bartenders,” who is said to have been the first to garnish a drink with an orchid and a paper parasol.

2 oz Kōloa Kaua`i Spice rum
0.5 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Rum
1 oz Bourbon
0.5 oz Ferrand Dry Curacao
6 oz passion fruit juice
1/2 tsp juice from a maraschino cherry jar to top
A couple dashes angostura bitters to top
Squeeze of fresh lime juice (about 1/4th oz)
Garnish pineapple leaves and slice, maraschino cherry, mint

Shake with ice cubes and strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice, add a half tsp of juice from a maraschino cherry jar and a couple dashes angostura bitters.

Fruity, spicy and quite mild but very yummy…but it´s deceptive – the 151 Cuban will sneak up on you…

Here`s another cocktail for you from Jeff Berry`s Grog Log with the rums switched out for Kōloa Kaua`i Spice and Coconut:

Noa Noa

Koloa Noa Noa

1oz lime juice (or 3/4 of a lime cut into wedges)
1tsp brown sugar
1 dash Angostura bitters
6 mint leaves
1 oz Kōloa Kaua`i Spice rum
2 oz Kōloa Coconut rum
mint sprig, for garnish

Muddle lime juice or wedges with sugar, bitters, and mint. Add ice and rum, and shake. Strain into a double rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprig and spent lime shell.

Cool and not too sweet, spicy, minty and with a hint of coconut.

The spiced rum is funny to play with and is versatile to mix with in a lot of cocktails and tiki drinks, i could do many more but time doesn`t permit…that`ll be another time.

Kōloa rums can be purchased at various retailers in the US and also in Australia, Canada and China (see the website) and in Europe at La Gourmandine Rhumerie in France, also online.

From Hawaii to you with Kōloa rum – Aloha!

See other Koloa Spice rum reviews on RumRatings

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum – A Femme Fatale Dressed to Kill

LS151 Label 4

Dangerously easy to sip…

The Lost Spirits Rums hit the world with a bang! I have already seen and read several great posts about this rum and have written myself also about the Navy Style and Polynesian Inspired rums.

The Lost Spirits latest addition – the 151 Cuban Inspired Rum – has already been spoken about as well but I`ve been unable to write about until now since I been away to New Orleans and California including a road trip with Bryan and Joanne from the distillery to the Tiki Oasis in San Diego and where I got time to get to know this rum a bit better but time alone with it was needed.

One thing is clear, it`s a very pleasant overproof rum and it both mixes and sips well, even though, if you sip it for a while you will get a “fried” palate due to it`s strength typically what happens when you drink overproof rums neat, which mostly I do not – I use them most of the time in drinks as floats or combined with other rums  –  but you should not let this rum fool you – it`s way too easy to sip.

That said, I recommend it to be used like you use other overproof rums, in drinks, as floats etc.

This femme fatale comes dressed up in a very innocent looking outfit…the stunning label is a work of art with light pastel colored retro style 1930s pre-Castro Cuban theme with palm trees and a Pan Am (?) plane taking off to the sun….(and Cuban daiquiris…) and there`s a lady dressed in fashionable 1930s tropical wear. It`s like the other labels from Lost Spirits, very detailed and in all it`s a stunning label made by Bryan himself.

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban label collage 2

1930s Cuba….isn`t it beautiful? makes me wanna go back in time…or at least have a couple of cold daiquiris which btw is one of my favorite rum drinks.

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban label collage

I suspect that the curved end of the label is inspired by the same curved pattern you see on top of the copper still, you can see it in this post by Cocktailwonk, it´s pic number seven from top.

Of course your mind goes straight to the daiquiri when you see this rum but it´s good for all sorts of drinks both classic, modern and tiki. And here is what i like so much about it, it gives enough flavor to the drink to make things happen, to make it exciting, yet it´s smooth as silk but it kicks your butt!

If you have never heard of Lost Spirits Rums before I advise you to go and read about them here, and here and here……..plus check out their own website. It`s well worth the time reading all the posts because Bryan Davis is like the “mad scientist” up there at the distillery producing both rums and whiskeys. I have noticed that posts about this distillery have a tendency to become quite lengthy and there´s a reason for that, so keep reading the posts…

You might see some fancy tiki drinks with their rums here on my blog – but this is where it starts:

Nitrogen deprivation

Manipulating the biochemistry of the yeast or stressing the yeast, is one important part of the production, read more about that here. Picture Bryan Davis.

I asked Bryan how the idea came about making a 151 Cuban style rum? he said when making the navy style rum is was mostly about making rum with the biggest range of flavor from the fermenter coming through.

But how about making the opposite? With this Cuban style it was the opposite end of the spectrum starting with the super flavorful high quality molasses and then highly rectify it like a Cuban from 100 years ago and then age it using his own scientific approach. Bryan tried lots of different woods and finally blended the Cuban from all the experiments.

The Cuban inspired 151 proof rum differs greatly from the Polynesian Style and Navy Style rums in that it has less of those higher alcohols giving the other two rums their “heavy” type of flavor, this rum here has a totally different flavor profile, more “clean” but I wouldn`t say “light” because there is nothing “light” about any of the rums from the Lost Spirits Distillery. But at the same time as the 151 Cuban differs from the others they still have clear bonds of being from the same “family”.

Well, i have to say the end result is nothing but spectacular!

They are only three people at the Lost Spirits Distillery, Bryan Davis, Joanne Haruta and Joanne`s brother James and if you haven`t seen the distillery and the hand built pot still with it`s smoking dragon head check it out here and here

And check out this video, (click on the left play button at the bottom) :

The smoking dragon pushing out the steam from the still at night….(video by Bryan Davis)

 

Pretty cool eh? it´s all hand built on site.

Tasting

The nose is to me fruity (slightly like pineapple and apricot but not at all as pineapple forward as the Polynesian style, and here´s also vanilla) with a wonderful whiff of lovely soothing butterscotch.

The flavor is intense and has the same fruitness beautifully rounded out by the aforementioned butterscotch, vanilla and toffee aromas. It`s so strong yet it caresses your palate like silk!…that`s why it´s so dangerously sippable.

With a little water in the glass i think it becomes much more Pineapple flavored but compared to the Polynesian (also with a few drops of water in it) it`s actually smoother despite it´s higher strength.

I have used their rums specifically in tiki drinks simply because well, I love tiki drinks – and because they fit so well in these kind of drinks because the bold flavors of these strong rums stand up so well against the fresh mixers and us tiki drink loving folks we just LOVE bold rums don`t we?? At the Tiki Ti we had Nui Nuis made with it and they were nothing but awesome!

But Lost Spirits rums are not only fit for tropical and tiki drinks, they can be used in any kind of cocktails thus making this rum very versatile. One example is the classic daiquiri…so I made one and of course it made an excellent daiquiri that also packs a punch! drink one of these and you`ll dance!

Also, use it as a float in a variety of cocktails..

Then i was pondering what to do next and got to think about two of my old favorites, the Missionary`s Downfall and the classic Pago Pago.

The Missionary`s Downfall is a very tasty drink but it´s not a strong one…so I decided to make a twist of it and change that with the 151 Cuban rum. Be warned though, this drink is potent!

The Drunken Missionary

Drunken Missionary

This drink is so potent it makes the tiki mug “sweat” and “moan”!

0.5 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz honey syrup ( add liquid honey to simple syrup, warm it up a bit, stir and set aside to cool)

0.5 peach liqueur

1 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum

1.5 oz pineapple-coconut juice

Crushed ice

Nutmeg

Fresh mint

Muddle mint with lime juice and honey syrup, add the rest of ingredients and shake it ice cubes until the shaker frosts on the outside, then strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a fresh and spanked mint sprig or two, a couple speared maraschino cherries and lime triangles and grate some nutmeg on top and enjoy!

This drink packs a punch and is VERY tasty!

Pago Pago

Pago pAGO SMALL

The Pago Pago dates to at least 1940, when it appeared in a book called The How and When, and this classic cocktail is a longtime favorite of mine and i`ve had it on this blog before but not with this rum though – so i decided to give it a try. What makes this drink so nice is the addition of Green Chartreuse which not only adds lively vibrant herbal aromas to the drink but also goes very very well with rum!

1 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum

3 squares of fresh pineapple (about 1 oz)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz green Chartreuse

0.25 oz white crème de cacao

Add all ingredients except the rum in a cocktail shaker and muddle the pineapple with a muddler. Add the rum and a lot of ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (double-strain through a mesh tea strainer in order to filter out the little bits of pineapple)

Beware of this drink`s strength…

151 Cuban Nui Nui

Nui Nui LS 151 Cuban

Another favorite of mine is the Nui Nui….and with the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban it becomes a high octane real treat!

1.5 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz orange juice
0.25 oz cinnamon syrup
0.25 oz Don’s Spices #2
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients with a handful of crushed ice, blend for 5 seconds and pour unstrained into a chimney or tiki glass with more crushed ice. Insert a long strip (6+ inches) of orange peel into the drink and let some of it hang out.

Well I poured mine into a tiki mug and also added fresh mint.

I was pondering what next to make ( yeah that`s what happens when i have Lost Spirits rums in my hands…) and then i remembered that yummy Coconut Punch i had in London made by Martin Cate at the last years UK Rumfest and decided to make a twist of it starting with making a baked pineapple syrup.

Flaming Coconut Punch

Flaming Coconut Punch

1.5 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz Coconut and pineapple juice

5-6 dashes Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters* for that pineapple and coffee touch. (sub with some coffee flavored bitters and use dashes depending on how bitter they are)

Baked pineapple sugarcane syrup*

Shake all ingredients well and strain into a coconut filled with crushed ice, that is placed on top of a larger coconut that is filled with cracked ice. (or use a tiki coconut mug)

Garnish with pineapple leaves.

Fill a lime shell with overproof rum or drench a few sugar cubes and set alight, dust with cinnamon powder to get the volcano effect.

Baked Pineapple Sugarcane Syrup

Place 5-6 chunks of pineapple in a pan and bake them on high heat until they get brownish, then lower the heat and add dark sugar syrup on top, let it sizzle for a few seconds then take off heat and mash the pineapple chunks with a fork. Set aside to cool and leave for about 15-20 min for the flavors to set.

Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters is a homemade product by Oriol over at the Three of Strong blog, write to him and see if you can get some. They are not sold commercially. You can sub with some other coffee flavored bitters, or make a different variety by for example muddle fresh coffee beans to get the coffee flavor. Do not use any coffee liqueur as you cannot omit the baked pineapple syrup in this drink.

This drink turned out pretty good! actually VERY tasty! I really like it and I`m gonna keep this one. I think the rum married so well together with the rest of the ingredients. And I love that it also packs a punch…

Now I should be very drunk right? well no…not really…the truth is I don`t make all the cocktails for a post like this in one evening…I prefer to sip and savour over a week or two because with rum it works like this –  you need to re-visit a rum several times to get the flavors of it and to make cocktails too.

And since this rum is overproof  it´s better to pace it…actually I recommend to drink just one of these in one sitting.

So…the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum…have you not tried it yet and are able to get it? – my advice…do not wait!

Distributors are found here.

LS151 Label 2

The label is really gorgeous!

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban bottle 2

The rum has a beautiful amber color i think.

LS smoking dragon still

Anyone passing by this at night must really wonder what´s going on….

TOTC 2014 – Dynamic Duos, Tastings, Food and Fun!

JEFFBERRY

Daniele Dalla Pola and Jeff Berry having great fun, Picture Laura Godel

This last post is a picture parade of a FEW of the tastings, parties, dinners and the rest of all the fun that took place on this years Tales of the Cocktail. Sure I missed several events I would have wanted to attend to but it’s impossible to do it all, there’s so much that’s is happening!

One of the must do things was the “Dynamic Duos” – two of the worlds best bartenders working in pairs at the best bars in the city mixing cocktails with the sponsoring brand! there were several Dynamic Duos happening in places like Kingfish, Bellocq, Cure, Cane and Table, SoBou…and we went to two events, the first one was at Kingfish where Chris Mc Millan and Dale deGroff mixed cocktails with Laird’s Applejack, the oldest native distilled spirit in the US. I like Kingfish and when these two gentlemen are at the bar it’s a win win and a guarantee for good fun and great cocktails.

Like the Tales description says, few people have done more to elevate the art of American mixology than Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail. Credited with kickstarting the bartending revolution, he’s inspired countless mixologists across the country.

And Chris McMillian, is a fourth generation bartender whose combination of dedicated craftsmanship and passionate storytelling has made him a living legend in New Orleans!

Dynamic Duos Kingfish collage

Two legends, Chris McMillan and Dale deGroff

After Kingfish we continued to the next event, Jeff Berry and Nick Detrich mixing up drinks with Plantation rum at the Cane and Table! we decided to get there early but it was already packed when we got there….lucky for us some people left 3 chairs at the bar to us and so we got premium seating!

After quickly making a name for himself in the New Orleans cocktail scene at Cure and Bellocq, Nick Detrich opened Cane&Table, a sophisticated tiki restaurant devoted to exploring New Orleans position in the development of rum. Who better to join him at Tales of the Cocktail’s Dynamic Duos than Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, author of the definitive works on tropical drinks and culture?

It turned out to become a fantastic evening with ALL the rum and tiki people plus many others with good cocktails made with Plantation rum, which had a strong presence at this years Tales, just like previous years.

And with Jeff Berry at the bar it’s a guaranteed success! there is no doubt in my mind that his upcoming bar Latitude 29 will be one of THE bars to go in this town, personally I can’t wait to the next year when I will finally hopefully be able to get there.

Dynamic Duos Cane and Table collage

Pictures Laura Godel

Cane and Table also had a kickass pop-up pool party at the Monteleone rooftop:

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party collage

This is what did it for me….these mouthwatering grilled gulf shrimp skewers and the DIP SAUCE! the dip sauce was to “die for” and yet so simple, a mix of Crystal Sauce (the best Louisiana hot sauce in my opinion) and fresh squeezed lime juice served in baked bell peppers….the way the sauce tasted I think it was baked for a little while inside the bell peppers….this was soooooo GOOOD!!!

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party 4 2

Delicious strawberry sticks in mango sauce……you get pampered at the Tales!

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party 5 2

Cheers! and hope to be back at Tales again the next year!!

And here’s a picture parade:

Tales toast collage

The official Tales toast at the steps of Monteleone to kick off Tales.

Mandarin Napoleon 1 pic2

Delicious drinks by Mandarin Napoleon using my favorite soft drink (together with Ting) Sanpellegrino.

Mandarin Napoleon collage

Refreshing!! especially in the summer heat of New Orleans which btw I must say was unusally “cool” this year….nevertheless, the cold drinks really did their job! and who doesn’t like fresh and fruity drinks in the summer?

Mandarin Napoleon presented the 2nd Annual Imperial Battle of the Sexes, at the Napoleon House, where eight of the best male and female bartenders from around the country paired against each other to create their very own signature Mandarine Napoléon cocktail and, guests voted for the best. Each bartender had their own station to serve their signature cocktails, while strategically pleading for votes.

The teams also had to face off in challenges that tested their knowledge, creativity and skill. This portion of the competition was judged by an expert panel, including brand owner Marc de Kuyper. Hosted by John Lermayer , while Alex Straus and Mathias Simonis from The Bon Vivants were team captains.

So which team won? it was the male team this time….

 Bayou rum and gator 2

Bayou Rum had a alligator themed tasting room, presenting their new rum for the summer, Bayou Satsuma along with their spiced and silver rum that they launched at the Tales last year, serving cocktails with these three expressions. They even brought a live gator baby in there..

I like Bayou rum, it’s a comfort rum to me! and they served a tasty cocktail called “Down the Bayou”, with Bayou Spiced, Blackberry Sage Syrup by Locally Preserved, orange juice, pineapple juice, ginger ale, full recipe is on their webpage.

Samogon is a 90 proof Russian Spirit never commercially bottled before, until this years Tales! and in their tasting room we got to use a new tool for opening fresh coconuts and everyone got to open their own nut, funny, and the tool along with a huge hammer made it easy. Fresh coconut water is so tasty!  I think this one was a hit!

Samogon and Coconut

And at last, I wanna recommend a few places you can go to when you’ re in New Orleans for the Tales or other things, these are places I have greatly enjoyed over the years and this year because when I like a place, I keep coming back!

Arnaud’s French 75, get your well crafted cocktails by Chris Hannah and team! step into a world of it’s own right there on 813 Bienville street, the bar is adjacent to Arnaud’s main dining room and one of GQ’s top 25 bars in the US. Being there is a true delight!

Rum cocktail french 75 2

SoBou – A Spirited Restaurant South of Bourbon! awesome Louisiana-centric and street food inspired restaurant with a beverage focus. Great cocktails by Abigail! don’t miss this place please! 310 Chartres Street.

SoBou collage2

Mai Tai at SoBou with Appleton rum and Cruzan Blackstrap float, Shrimp and Tasso Pinchos with Glazed Pineapple.

KingFish – This is where Chris McMillan resides….enough said, just go there and have a great cocktail or two and chat with one of the legends in New Orleans! they also got great food….just a step away from SoBou – 337 Chartres St

The Carousel Bar – is a MUST! the slowly rotating bar is an experience! and the place you always find yourself at during the Tales. I had a great Rum Alexander this year made with the local Rougaroux dark rum! it was awesome. But their signature cocktail is the Vieux Carre’. The Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge is the only revolving bar in New Orleans, Louisiana. The bar is inside the Hotel Monteleone on 214 Royal St.

Cane and Table – GREAT place! cocktails, tiki drinks, RUM and food! 1113 Decatur St.

Bourbon “O” Bar – 730 Bourbon St – go here for a treatment by Cheryl Charming and her staff of great bartenders! I will never forget the Bananas Foster snowcone cocktail I had there last year! and go and have a Pimm’s Cup made by Lynn Burgett, he makes the best Pimm’s Cup in town! perfectly balanced, nice garnish and sooo refreshing! this bar is right on Bourbon yet a world away….

Pimms cup 2

Fabulous Pimm’s Cup….

The Rum House – a Caribbean taqueria and a great place for rum geeks because they do have an extensive rum list where you can find real rare treasures like Silver Seal Caroni and Samaroli demerara rums! and their fried oyster taco is a delight! find the Rum House at 3128 Magazine street.

Commander’s Palace – needs no presentation, let me just say, if you want a whole experience including fantastic food and impeccable service, there is Commander’s. Don’t miss their Shrimp Henican whatever you do….wild Louisana white shrimp stuffed with spicy Cajun tasso tossed in Crystal sauce with pickled okra and five pepper jelly!

That’s a few places but there are many more, cannot add them all I wrote about many of them in previous years, but go to for example, Cure, Bar Tonique, Coop’s, Parkway (for Poboys) just google them…I’m done, see y’all next year at the Tales!

Rumhouse collage

Real treasures at the Rum House……

commanders collage 2

Commander’s Shrimp and Tasso Henican is unbelievable…..! wild Louisana white shrimp stuffed with spicy Cajun tasso tossed in Crystal sauce with pickled okra and five pepper jelly! on the right, a little refreshment, Aqua Fresca. (Macerated pineapple and lime juices with a pinch of sugarcane…served with fresh mint)

hurricane tee 2

This years TOTC tee from Fleurtygirl! Storm the Quarter!!

TOTC 2014 – Tastings – Plantation Pineapple Rum, Appleton Rum Brunch and Bulleit New Fashioned!

Plantation Pineapple Rum L pic2

Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy – Picture Laura Godel

Plantation Rum in Shades of Dark, White and Pineapple!

I was waiting with great excitement for the tasting and launch of the Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy by Plantation Rum – which I need to make it clear right away, is NOT for sale…..because this rum was an experiment by Alexandre Gabriel and David Wondrich….to be launched and tasted at the Tales of the Cocktail….

Well….I was not disappointed, the rum was delicious! with a deep well matured and slightly smoky pineapple flavor in the background of Plantation rums original dark rum. And the bottle is beautiful!! I asked Alexandre what made the flavor so deep and he told me it”s coming from that the pineapple skin has been distilled – together with pineapple fruit, which also has been macerated.

For being just an experiment I think the outcome was really delicious and very interesting!

Plantation Pineapple tasting queue2

The queue….a nightmare for anyone with a hangover….luckily I was not…and don’t mind all the yellow hats….it’s a Tales thing….

Yep the queue to the tasting room was pure madness and the warm air stood still, but eventually we got in there….and deliciousness awaited…

Plantation pineapple tasting 2

Plantation rums, pineapple, white and dark as shots and in daiquiri cocktails…

Plantation Pineapple Rocky

Here served by Rocky – appropriately painted….I don’t know how he does it, but Rocky really is everywhere…

Plantation pineapple collage

Yours truly with pineapple rum in hand, Alexandre Gabriel – Cognac Ferrand proprietor and spirits mastermind – and more delicious pineapple rum!

Plantation pineapple DTO collage

The DTO – Daiquiri Time Out coin, a treasure/token that was handed out, and which a certain man did drop inside a cab and had the entire cab floor torn up to find it…wherewith the cab driver in utter amazement said that this gotta be a very valuable coin…..

But there’s more to the coin than just a token for the fun of it, according to what I’ve heard, navy officers carried a special coin. When drinking, everyone showed their crew coin. If one person did not have their coin, they had to buy a round of drinks. This gave value to the coin and the tradition.

Now I have one wish….that plantation rum makes more of this fine pineapple rum….I could make use of a bottle…launching a delicious rum like this only for the Tales is really a teaser…!

The Appleton Estate Jamaican Bartender’s Brunch – Rum, Reggae, Food, Sun and Fun!

Appleton brunch pool pic2

Oh my….this was a nice event! a yellow school bus fetching us up outside of Monteleone and serving cocktails on the way to the brunch filled with rum, reggae, Jamaican foods like jerked chicken, lots of fresh fruits and fresh cocktails, Jamaican fizzes, fixes & swizzles made with island flavors and fresh cane juice pressed on site.

And of course one of my favorite rums was there – the JWray overproof – paired with Sanpellegrino!! (to sub Ting) plus Aperol…all by the pool at the Country Club. Very very nice on a hot sunny summer day down here in New Orleans.

Appleton brunch 5 pic 2

Rum, fruits and fun in the sun!

Appleton Brunch collage 1

Of course some of the usual shady rum suspects were there….The first refreshment was freshly pressed sugarcane juice before continuing to the bar for rum punches and JWray….Appleton also treated us with large red Appleton bath towels and flip flops 🙂

Appleton Brunch collage 3

Well….I wouldn’t mind repeating this….that’s for sure. Just look at that pineapple!

Appleton Brunch collage 2

Or how about this….I dunno….can it get any better??

Appleton Brunch Collage

Jerked chicken, Coladas and sugarcane juice!

Appleton Brunch collage 4

And time for a JWray shot from the melon….Appleton Rum baby! Please come back next year….

And now to something totally different…..

Ruth’s Chris & Bulleit New Fashioned 1965-Style Luncheon

Bulleit New Fashioned 2 small pic

Bulleit Distilling Co needs no presentation….and this year they had a similar brunch as they did last year which then, was mint julep themed and absolutely fabulous! This years theme was the New Fashioned, a riff on the Old Fashioned…with Bulleit rye, Cherry Heering, orange rind, Italian Amarena cherry, Fee Brother’s black walnut and orange bitters.

The brunch was of course delicious…catered by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and if you haven’t tried their fantastic food it’s time you do if you have a chance. And the New Fashioned cocktail which will be served at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was very tasty and the garnish was so beautiful with a shiny black “filthy Amarena cherry” from Filthy Food Premium Drink Garnish, speared on to a dehydrated orange slice.

The wild Amarena cherries are slow cooked in copper pots to produce a wonderful all natural, dark red cherry with a sweet front and tart finish.

Bulleit New Fashioned 1

Hollis Bulleit, Helen Mackey, VP of Menu Strategy & Innovation for Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Tom Bulleit, founder of Bulleit Distilling Company presenting the event and their companies, while the crowd enjoyed an excellent luncheon.

Bulleit New Fashioned 3 food

The Crawfish Monica that was served was fantastic! and everything else too!

Bulleit New Fashioned ingredients2

The ingredients to make the New Fashioned….the only thing not in the picture is the jar of “Filthy Amarena Cherries”.

Bulleit 2

I get thirsty when I see this drink in the picture….and the cocktail WAS good! for people in the US – you can join Ruth” s Chris Steakhouse for a nationwide 5-course handcrafted cocktail dinner with the same menu across the US, participating restaurants and pricing vary, see more at Chris Ruth’s Steakhouse website.

Pictures Laura Godel

Next up….more tastings, parties, bars and restaurants…the last picture parade from the tales of the Cocktail 2014!

 

TOTC 2014 – Which Rum, What Cocktail and Why? and Floridita – Cradle of the Daiquiri

Plantation rum samples 2

Picture Laura Godel

Which Rum, What Cocktail and Why?

This seminar was presented by Plantation Rum and held by Jeff Berry, Alexandre Gabriel, Martin Cate and Philip Duff and the room was packed and of course all the usual suspects were there 🙂

They took us through the history of rum, the tiki era, Don the Beachcomber, Trader Vic… and then a very interesting theory about the rums Trader Vic used in his Mai Tais, or rather the Martinique rum part. Most of us (if not all ?) have always thought that the Martinique rum Trader Vic used was an agricole rum, but there is a new theory on this that the rum actually was a molasses based rum and not an agricole.

How’s that and why?

Well, there seem to be some things that points to that, for example the Martinique rum was described at the time as a rum with a “heavy coffee color”, here is the points according to Martin Cate including a pic of the jet-black Barum bottled in Jamaica:

1. Very few agricoles were exported to the US at that time. Only brand I can see in the US is Saint James. Don Beach had no agricoles at all on his 1940s rum menu. Don describes Martinique rum as “Heavy-bodied, medium pungency” and “Not as dry as the Cuban nor as rummy as the Jamaican” – no word about grassiness or a different raw material at all.

2. His first Adjusted Mai Tai recipe uses Coruba- lightly aged black Jamaican rum. Heavier bodied, but no depth of character.

3. He described using Trader Vic’s brand Martinique rum in the 1950 to match the desired “nutty” flavor of the older Jamaican.

4. Trader Vic’s 1946 Book of Food and Drink (and 1947 and 172 Bartenders Guide) describe Martinique rum as “Commonly known as French rums, they are usually heavy in body, coffee-colored, very similar to Jamaica rums, but in many cases have the dry burned flavor of the Demerara.”

There’s just no way that’s agricole. Also, Vic cited and used Negrita- a black rum from the French islands that is molasses based.

Vic’s Martinique Rum List: Outstanding brands: Bellows Martinique* Black Head* Rhum St. James Barum* Casa Grazia (?) Gosling’s Martinique* Rhum Charleston* Rhum Chauvet* Rhum Risetta* Rhum Negrita*

*All Traditionelle

Then: Creation of Vic’s Brand Mai Tai Rum – 1960s:

“This rum was made to recapture the characteristics of the original 17-year-old rum. First he skillfully blended Jamaican rums and then added Martinique rum for its elusive and wonderful nutlike flavor (ed – that’s got to be rhum traditionelle) and a bit of light Virgin Island rum for the smoothness of body. (ed. – that’s just padding to keep the cost down) This combination became the Trader Vic Mai Tai rum as we know it today.” (“Today” being the 1960s)

BARUM

Picture courtesy Martin Cate

So to me it looks like it’s true that the Martinique rum was actually molasses based. The rum world is really interesting stuff…Sure I wrote a note about this when I reviewed the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve rum which is a blend with both Jamaican rums and molasses based Martinique rum (Grand Arome) but being at this seminar and Martin Cate helped me get more and deeper understanding of the details.

Martin Cate is still of the opinion though, that making a Mai Tai with half Jamaican and half Agricole is delicious regardless! I tend to agree…

Next up, more about rum….yeah I have a hard time staying away from any seminar talking about my favorite cane spirit….

FLORIDITA – The cradle of the Daiquiri

Floridita seminar Jeff and David

Picture Laura Godel

This years Tales did not disappoint, I think it was even better than last year. One of the seminars I went to was “The Floridita: cradle of the Daiquiri” held by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and David Wondrich and presented by Bacardi Rum. The seminar took us back to the 1930’s Havana and head bartender Constantino Ribalaigua Vert who even taught Trader Vic how to make tropical drinks! (Trader Vic also went to New Orleans to learn how to mix drinks – after all Nola is the birthplace of the cocktail…)

The recipe for the classic daiquiri was 2 oz white rum, juice of 1/2 hand-squeezed lime, 1 tsp sugar and the drink was mostly stirred but sometimes shaken – “thrown Cuban style” that is. The limes used were the large limes most of us are used to, not the smaller key limes and they were squeezed by hand.

Hemingway who moved to Havana and there discovered the Floridita asked his daiquiri to be changed – double the rum, eliminate the sugar (he had diabetes) and adding grapefruit juice and maraschino and the Papa Double was invented, also called the Hemingway daiquiri.

His record of Papa Double consumption was 17 drinks from the morning to the evening – he really loved his daiquiri! But he didn’t drink just daiquiris, he also used to drink for example, a cocktail called “Ideal” while reading his daily paper. The Ideal was 1 oz Italian vermouth, 1 oz French vermouth, 1 oz dry gin, 3/4 oz grapefruit juice and a tsp maraschino.

Floridita daiquiris 123

One of Constantinos trademarks was the combination of grapefruit and maraschino and he used a lot of fresh mint, sugar instead of syrup, dashes of curacao and lime peel – as ingredient. He became known for consistency and a generally high quality on his cocktails.

Constantino also had an “ice program” where different styles of ice were grouped into four: 1 – Menudo (cracked) 2 – Menudito (chpped) 3 – Afeitado (shaved) 4 – Frappe’ (snow) and when the daiquiri was made simple syrup wasn’t used because syrup adds a different texture and taste and instead the sugar was stirred into the juices. So you can see with what great care he took the attention to details in his drink mixing.

FLORIDITA DRINK

And from Hemingway Floridita got fame, fortune and became one of Esquire’s top seven bars in the world at the time.

Now, Trader Vic, who sat at the bar Floridita to study how tropical drinks were mixed took Constantino’s daiquiri recipe with him when he left and put it on his menu and called it “Trader Vic’s Daiquiri’………and his book the 1940′ s Bar Guide was the result of his studying in the Floridita and Constantino’s work.

The seminar taught us about the history of Floridita and the history of the daiquiri but there were more things than that mentioned, among them Don Beach, Trader Vic and of course, the Mai Tai, how can you not hear something about the Mai Tai when Jeff Berry is one of the panelists?

FLORIDITA SEMINAR JEFF BERRY

And to wrap it all up – I would recommend anyone to go to the Tales! it’s such an experience, it’s fun, you meet fun and interesting people and you learn a lot!

Next post coming up soon – the tastings!